PIAB damages awards have almost halved since guidelines adopted

AuthorMary Carolan
Published date29 March 2022
Publication titleIrish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
The first brother was awarded €18,000 in March 2021, a month before the new guidelines came into effect. Three months later, when the guidelines were operational, the second brother was awarded €4,000

Last month, in what is believed to be one of the first cases under the guidelines to go to hearing, a man who claimed for soft tissue and psychological injuries in a motor accident, in which liability was admitted, was awarded €45,000 at Killarney Circuit Court.

The man had earlier rejected PIAB's award of some €15,000. The €45,000 award has been appealed to the High Court by the defendant driver's insurer. Such cases illustrate the potential impact of the guidelines, already dubbed as "PIGS" by unhappy lawyers.

Insurers, employers and insurance reform campaigners have, however, generally welcomed them but are waiting to see whether they substantially discourage costly personal injuries litigation and how they play out in the courts.

This week, PIAB, which assesses general damages for motor, workplace or public liability accidents, publishes updated data showing that its awards have almost been halved since the guidelines came into effect in late April 2021.

Claims fell 16 per cent to 26,009 in 2020, and that decline is expected to have continued into last year, though the reductions also reflect the impact of the pandemic - including fewer people driving and in workplaces.

The Central Bank's National Claims Information Database (NCID) for 2015-2019 shows less than half of claims settled directly between claimants and insurers or via PIAB. Most settled after litigation began, but before going to court.

Series of challenges The first of

a series of challenges to the guidelines agreed by vote last year by the State's judges will begin its hearing before the High Court in Dublin tomorrow.

Legal costs in litigated settlements are substantially higher than for direct/PIAB settlements. For example, average compensation for direct and PIAB settlements in workplace claims under €100,000 was €24,232 and €36,320 respectively, with average legal costs at €2,790 and €902. The average compensation for litigated workplace settlements was €69,865, with average legal costs of €35,268.

A PIAB review of its awards in 2,649 cases from April 24th, 2021 to September 2021 shows the average award was 40 per cent lower than the average 2020 award under earlier guidelines, known as the Book of Quantum (BoQ).

Between April and September 2021, most awards - 68 per cent - concerned...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT